Sutil: Hamilton punishments could be racism

Adrian Sutil has spoken out in defence of Lewis Hamilton, saying that the punishments he receives could be a manifestation of racism. The Force India driver wrote in his weekly column for a Dutch magazine that he was mystified by the number of penalties the world champion appears to get.

“I have no idea how he (Hamilton) has got so many punishments. Slowly you start to ask yourself why it always happens to him. Is it his skin colour?” reads the article, in the Dutch magazine ”Formula 1 Race Report”.

Sutil is himself of mixed race parentage, like Hamilton. In raising the question, Sutil is controversially putting forward the idea that the sport’s governing body suffers from institutional racism. It is not the first time the powers-that-be have been accused of being soft on racism – Bernie Ecclestone’s response to racist treatment of Lewis Hamilton in Spain last season was that it was ”probably a joke.”

Although Hamilton fans will seize on Sutil’s words as evidence of a conspiracy, there is unlikely to be either an internal or external FIA enquiry into racism in the sport. The issue is delicate, as Hamilton critics would argue that not penalising Hamilton when he had been found to have done wrong would be favouritism.